Category: Uncategorized

Am I Pretending to be a Grown Up?

Sometimes We’re So Busy Looking Back, We Forget to See Who We’ve Become…

My big brother had soccer coach training in our area, and so he stayed with the hubs, B, and I overnight. First may I note, that if you had told me ten years ago that my brother would be the coach of his daughter’s soccer team, I probably would have laughed in your face.1451495_10102307916179303_1474626142_n

It was amazing to see him, but I’ll admit the whole experience was a little surreal. As I made up his bed, and gave him bottled water, and made his coffee in the morning, I think we both had this weird feeling like, “woah…we’re grown adults.” We laughed about when I would brave crashing on his futon in his college dorm, and hit a coffee shop after we’d rolled out of bed midday, because…what was a coffee maker anyway?

As he said goodbye, he brushed his lips to my cheek, and I felt the tickle of his beard. I said “love you bro,” and he said “love you too.” As my door shut I actually laughed out loud to myself. My brother, the soccer coach, who wears a full beard, gives kisses goodbye, and says “love you” without mumbling or blushing. Who was this guy?

I’ve always loved my brother, but my heart swelled with pride at the man, the father, the husband he has become.

It made me think at how I allow myself to forget about the adult I’ve become, and to go back to the mindset of an insecure teenager. I  question my decisions, my words, my feelings and actions, placing myself as judge and jury of my own life; and all to often, my verdict is that I come up short.

I will always come up short, I will always make mistakes–but I’m no longer the shy teenager that was too timid to say hello to classmates in the halls of school.

I need to value the sum of the lessons I’ve learned, the experiences that I’ve had and realize that I’m no longer the kid sister.

All too often we ruminate on the mistakes we’ve made, or we think about the people we want to become. In the movie Bridget Jones’ Diary, Mark Darcy tells Bridget “I like you just as you are,” and though it sounds quaint, the scene is completely romantic and sweet (if you’re a sap like me). But rom-coms aside, it draws me to my point:  how often do we like and accept ourselves “just as we are?” Yes we’re all a work in progress, in one of my favorite books we’re compared to clay jars.

We’re cracked. But we’re also beautiful and useful, and exactly how God created us to be….just as we are.

What would happen if we lived in this day instead of reliving the mistakes we’ve made and all the ways others have hurt us? What if we thrived in the opportunities placed in front of us knowing that the sum of our experiences has equipped us to live in this moment?

Maybe then, we could be the husbands & wives, fathers & mothers, brothers & sisters that give kisses, and say “I love you’s…

the kind of people that mentor, that speak truth, and don’t allow fear or self doubt to discourage us from being the people we are called to be.

Cracked

 

We all have voids in our lives. Those areas where we don’t feel complete. As kids they may look more like pin pricks, but as we emerge into teenagers and adults, these pin pricks grow into gaping holesimage.

To each other, we appear whole, when beneath it all we bear wounds that scar and disable us.  The mom who was criticized by her own mom and now is debilitated by guilt, questioning every parenting decision she makes. The breadwinner who never achieved the success in his career that he’d hoped for, and walks around disillusioned. The teenage girl who lost her innocence to soon, and now fears and mistrusts every man she’ll ever meet.

We mask the holes that ravage the landscape of our lives, only to stumble and get trapped in them again and again. At times we find ourselves in the midst of a minefield, feeling bullet torn and helpless. No matter what we look to to fill up the emptiness in our lives, it always comes up short.

But instead of walking around with our emptiness, the apostle Paul promises that when we understand Christ’s love for us, we “will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:17-19  So while our lives and bodies may be as broken as clay jars, our God fills us from the inside out with a transforming love that not only repairs our brokenness, but empowers us to live beyond our circumstances.

We can try to build our identities around who we are in our relationships, mother, daughter, wife…but when we fail to perform in those roles, our foundation becomes broken. If we construct our identity based on what others think of us, we become like shifting sand, with our confidence ebbing and flowing with the changing tides. Money can be lost; and success is a clever magician, tricking us into false security.  But when we build our identity on the foundation of Christ’s love for us, our confidence and security is no longer a commodity that we have to earn, but a promise that is already fulfilled.

“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.” Lamentations 3:22

We live in a performance driven society with our lives defined by deadlines, milestones, and Facebook status updates. But when we allow our lives to be made whole by God’s love, and what Christ has done for us, we can live with a confidence and hope that doesn’t depend on our accomplishments. We can soak up the fullness of life, power, and love that empowers us to be Jesus’ disciples: making other’s whole through the power of Christ in us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Birth to Love

BIG LOVE: if only I didn’t automatically  attach this phrase to HBO’s sensational drama about polygamy.

imageIn a beautiful blog article I just read, a mother uses this to describe motherhood, and that’s a much better fit.  In fact, staring at my peacefully sleepińg toddler, with her pink flushed cheeks, her smacking pouted lips, and wild halo of fine blonde hair, “big love” captures just what I feel for her. A love so sizeable that it makes my chest feel like it’s full of bubbles.

Once you’ve felt this intense, primal, “I will hunt you down and hurt you if you hurt my baby” kind of mama love, you know that love comes in different shades and sizes.–Big mama love is BIG and bright, and beautiful and painful. Big mama love will rock and hold your baby after shes scraped a knee. It will stand up and cheer loudly when he graduates kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, or 12th grade. It will say “I love you & I forgive you” when she’s crashed the car, drank at a party, and broken your heart into a million pieces again and again.

But here is my favorite part of this BIG LOVE. It gives me a glimpse of God’s love for us.  Gods big love is the kind of love that celebrates our smallest victories. It weeps over the pain and suffering sin causes in our relationships and lives. Instead of piling our sins and mistakes against us, Gods big love says we will start fresh each day–I died for every mistake you will ever make.

“Dear children, let us not love with words and speech, but in action and in truth.” 1John 3:18

 

We Make Plans: God Directs our Steps

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Whenever I’ve had to make life’s biggest decisions whether it was about colleges, getting married, or buying a house I’ve wanted God to give me his direction in a major way–like with fireworks and stuff. But it seems that most often in these major moments of indecision God is the most quiet.

As frustrating as this silence can be, I realize that if God had a megaphone, shouting directions at me, I wouldn’t grow in the process of decision making.

When a ball of clay is shaped into a clay pot on a potters wheel, it cannot be formed into its desired shape right away. There is first a process called centering, where the clay is shaped into the perfect circle, opening , where it is hollowed out, and flooring where the base of the pot is formed. Without these steps, the pot would  be unbalanced and without a foundation.

The finished product is beautiful , but the throwing process is a artful dance that is just as significant as the pot itself.

Being in a state of indecision is uncomfortable, but God reminds me to take it one step a time with Him as he uses the process to shape and prepare me for my next adventure.